SewBrum Oct 2014

Wow! My first ever meet-up in Birmingham with other sewists for SewBrum 2014, organised by Charlotte of  Thanks Charlotte!  That was such fun.  And most likely the only group of people you can just wander up to, grab their dress and say, ooh, that’s nice, what is it?  without them looking at you like a mad person.

We started off meeting outside the Starbucks in New Street Station.  That was a bit puzzling for me – it’s been nearly 20 years since I was last in New Street station, and they’ve completely revamped it.  Plus, my train got in at 9.15 and we were meeting at 10, so I had a bit of a wait.  Charlotte’s instructions said to look for the big group, but since I was the first one there, there was no big group!  I was frantically scanning everyone that walked past, trying to tell if they were wearing me-made clothing or not.  Of course, since it was a rainy day, that wasn’t easy – everyone was wearing a coat.  Eventually I spotted a likely candidate, and asked if she was there for SewBrum.  I got lucky, it was Rachel from  And then more and more people started gathering until eventually there was a big group.  (Hi, Angie!)

So, off we headed to Barry’s Fabrics.  Wow!  I haven’t been in there since I was little, and didn’t remember it at all.

I did really well in here, and couldn’t believe the amount of choice, or the prices.  It was funny, because every time someone picked up a bolt to go and have some cut, they’d end up with people stroking it and going ooh, that’s lovely.  In some cases, you’d end up with a little queue behind you to have some cut from the same bolt.

(I apologise for the poor colours, it’s been really dark every time I’ve tried to take a picture).  Clockwise from top left, pinky mohair wool (1m), black and white bird print cotton (2m), blue Chinese-effect satin (2m), gold satin/silk (2m), floral green-ish polyester silk effect (2m), and multi-striped cotton (2m).


All the ladies cutting and serving were fantastically helpful, and we got a 10% discount as well – just as well, really!

I’m thinking – the pink mohair is for a trim around the bottom of a white boucle winter coat (I’ve had the boucle for ages, but needed something to decorate it with; the bird print for a work blouse, the blue satin for an evening jacket, the gold satin for an evening top, the green polyester for another smart blouse, and the stripes for a men’s shirt style, well, shirt.

Then we moved onto the Fancy Silk Store.  I was less impressed with this than with Barry’s.  There wasn’t so much choice of fabric types, and most fabrics were more expensive.  That said, it very much was what it says in the name – the fancy silks were lovely.  I did get some very nice shot silk effect lining fabric in a lovely green/red colourway (3m at £5pm), and some fantastic sequinned peacocks on netting (1.35m at £16.99pm).  I think they’re probably intended for a sari-type affair, but cut out and appliqued onto the gold satin/silk from Barry’s, they’ll make a really nice evening blouse/top.


Again, we got a 10% discount.  It was funny, too, when we were all trying to squeeze into the ground floor.  It was VERY cosy.

I managed to squeeze a quick run round the Rag Market, although it very much was a rush round in the last half hour before we caught the bus.  I did well in here, too, the selection was much better than on my last visit, just after the Rag Market had been moved.  I found some lovely red broderie anglais, with a deep border (2m at £4.50pm).  A fellow sewist stopped to eye it up, and the market guy got out every other colourway he had – orange, the usual white, and black, but I stuck with the red.  A lovely denim coloured chambray at another stand manned by what appeared to be a Turkish(?) boy band – about 7 guys of various ages, all dressed in fantastic white outfits and pointy slippers (2m at £3pm – the chambray, not the guys).  And then back to the broderie stall for some really interesting pleated black and white synthetic stuff (2m at £2.50pm).  I would have liked a proper look at all the notions stalls, but just didn’t have time.  They’ll most likely be a top in the black and white, a summer dress in the broderie, and maybe a pair of trousers in the blue.


Then we assembled to catch the bus to Moseley.  We had an…interesting…walk while we circled the bus stop, but eventually all piled onto a #50 bus.  It took about 15 minutes to get to Moseley, where we all traipsed into Guthrie & Ghani.  I LOVE this shop, it’s so nicely laid out.  Lauren very kindly opened up the workshop upstairs for us, and laid on tea (served by her lovely mother) and cakes made by other sewists, as well as a little goody envelope.  Mine had some white satin ribbon in it, as well as a 10% off voucher and a project postcard.  I saw another one with a nice sew-on decoration, so I guess everyone’s envelope was different.  And it was Lauren’s birthday too!

I spent far too much money in here, although to be fair I had a set amount of money I had drawn out for the day, and I managed to spend it all!

I got some lovely red chambray (2m), a couple of Christmas fabrics (1m each), some tweedy suiting (2m), and some gorgeous pale pink guipiere-style lace (1m at ouch! £32pm).  I’ve already started making a shirt with the chambray.  I’m planning on a couple of Christmas aprons with the Christmas-y fabric, some cosy work trousers with the tweed, and a couple of blouses with the lace, of the kind with a solid body and lace arms/shoulders.


Having all made purchases, we all re-convened upstairs for the raffle, chat and more tea.


I won twice in the raffle, once for a pdf pattern, and blow me down, the Singer sewing machine!  Here’s Charlotte’s photo of me looking suitably stunned.  I’m wearing my pink Coco, which I made the previous weekend at Guthrie & Ghani’s.  I’ll post properly about that another time.

SewBrum Meet-Up

Then we had a pattern and fabric swap.  I brought quite a few patterns, and came away with some new ones (to me).  I also got a couple of bits of fabric, a nice pinky cotton, probably enough for a sleeveless top, and about a metre and a half of an interesting lacy border.  Not sure what to do with that yet.


I got the bus back into town with Rachel (, Ela (, Thea (, and Louise (, amongst others.  Of course, I had two bags of fabric and a sewing machine to wrestle with!  I can’t thank enough everyone who helped me get back to the station.

It was about 6.40 when I got home, happy but exhausted!


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